Your Complete Guide to Need-to-Know Moving Terms

Lauren Wellbank
Written by Lauren Wellbank
Updated February 21, 2022
Movers moving a sofa
Photo: / Adobe Stock


  • A non-binding estimate can change the day of your move.

  • Linehaul charges are added when you pay by the weight and mileage of your move.

  • The bill of lading is another way to describe your moving contract. 

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Preparing to move can be stressful, especially when your moving team throws around phrases that you’ve never heard before, which could unknowingly lead to hidden moving costs

We’ve put together a list of some of the most common moving terms that everyone should know—whether you’re planning to DIY your move or bring in the pros—to make your next move a bit easier.

Additional Services

If you’re hiring a local moving professional, you may have heard a representative from the moving service use the phrase “additional services.” This term describes any extra services that your moving team offers, such as helping with the packing process and reassembling furniture in your new place. Keep in mind that these additional services usually come with additional charges.

Appliance Dolly

If your move involves carting around major home appliances, like your washer or refrigerator, you’ll need a special tool called an appliance dolly. You can use these workhorses-on-wheels to move the bulky and heavy items out of your old place and into your new home with ease.

Assessed Value Coverage

You’ll find the term assessed value coverage listed on the insurance policy provided by either your movers or the business where you rented a moving truck. If your moving service offers this kind of coverage, you’ll need to provide the lump sum value of the belongings that they’re moving. This type of coverage differs from other options that determine value based on shipment weight.

Bill of Lading

Your bill of lading (BIL) will serve as both a contract and a receipt from your moving company. This essential document outlines the services the moving company will provide and how much it will cost. As with any binding document, you should make sure you read it thoroughly before signing.

Binding and Non-Binding Estimates

A binding estimate is the flat price provided by a moving company based on the number of items they’re moving (usually determined by how many rooms in your house). A non-binding estimate is more of a rough estimate where the movers will compare your move to similar jobs they’ve done in the past. However, if your move happens to take longer than expected, you can expect that price to increase on your actual moving day

Cash on Delivery (COD)

In a world where cash is king, the service provider needs to get paid when they drop off your items. This phrase means that you’ll need to make your payment in full once your items are delivered to your new home.

Flight Charge

Do you live in a fourth-floor walkup? You might see a flight charge added to your moving contract. This additional expense is an add-on for the number of stairs that your movers will have to climb in order to complete the move. 

Full Replacement Value Protection 

Full replacement value protection is another insurance term used to ensure that all of your items are covered for their full replacement value if they’re lost or damaged. If you pay for full replacement value protection, you can rest assured that your mover will be liable for the replacement value of any lost or damaged belongings.

Full-Service Mover

Workers preparing packages for shipment
Photo: Drazen / Adobe Stock

Unlike freight-service movers (which will only move your items to your front door), full-service movers will come into your current home, remove all of your household items, transport them to your new home, and then deliver them to the specific rooms that you choose. 

Interstate and Intrastate Move

Just like the name suggests, an interstate move involves crossing state lines. An intrastate move stays within state boundaries. You can expect an interstate move to be more expensive than an intrastate move.


Your movers need to have a few different licenses, including those that give them permission to transport household items within the state and across state lines. Check your state’s moving license requirements for more information.

Linehaul Charges

Not every mover will give you a binding or non-binding estimate. Instead, some moving services will charge by linehaul, which is determined by the mileage of your move and the weight of your belongings. 

Long-Carry Charge

If your moving company has to park far away from your home, they may add a long-carry charge to your bill to make up for all the time they spend hoofing it to and from the truck. 

Packing Service

If you need additional help boxing up your house, you may decide to hire a packing service. This service includes movers boxing up your items before they load the truck, and then unboxing them when they arrive at your new home. 

Self-Service Mover

A self-service mover is a popular way to save money during the moving process. Self-service movers will often provide a trailer or a pod that you load by yourself, and then they’ll transport it to your new home for you to unload.


If you’re making a long-distance move or traveling during your move, you may need your moving company to store your stuff for a short period. This method is commonly referred to as storage-in-transit (SIT), and it usually has a limit of 180 days. 


Unlike insurance, a valuation is an estimate offered by your moving company. It only covers damages and losses caused by your movers. So, valuation won’t help you if a prized piece of artwork gets rain damage during the move. However, it would cover the losses if a mover accidentally put their finger through the canvas while carrying it. 

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